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This School is the First to Allow a Student Access to Medical Marijuana

Rear view of elementary school children with raised arms.

16 year old Genny Barbour lives with severe autism and epilepsy. Prior to cannabis oil treatments she was barely able to communicate – limited to one word phrases such as “eat” and “bathroom”.

Once all other medicines failed to alleviate even some of her worst symptoms, her parents turned to cannabis as an alternative. After talking it over with her doctor they decided that it was worth it to try the treatment – lo and behold it worked. Genny is more functional now than she has been in her entire life.

The changes were noticed by not only her parents, but also her doctors and school teachers. It was clear that the cannabis oil was making a very positive impact. Unfortunately that relief was to be short lived if they could not administer the proper dosage – which included a lunch-time dose.

Due to drug-free school zone laws, the school was unable to allow Genny to receive her medication on the school campus. Because of this she was only able to attend half days in order to get her proper dosage – and any small variations or a missed dose could make a dramatic difference how effective her treatment was.

The case went all the way to Supreme Court – but each time it was ruled against the Barbour family. Then a piece of legislature was introduced to New Jersey that would change everything for this family and many more in a similar situation.

The bill approved by the state and signed into law by Governor Chris Christie (who can’t seem to make up his mind on where he stands with marijuana) allows schools to permit students to be dosed with non-smokeable, edible forms of cannabis on school campus, school bus or at any school event.

It will be up to each school to write a policy regarding this new law – and Genny’s school, the Lark School, is the first in the country to do so. It happened almost immediately after the law was passed – and Genny will now be able to attend full days and get a complete education once again.

The only thing that this bill did not cover that would have helped the Barbours is the fact that the medical marijuana can only be administered by a parent or registered caregiver – which means one of her parents will still have to return to the school midday each day to administer the dose.

The Barbours hope that eventually they will be able to get things worked out to where a school nurse can administer the medication like they would any other. In the meantime, this is still a victory for this family and so many more.

Children should not be denied an education – especially not because the only medication that works for them is banned on school property.